St. Peter's Youth Participate In Homeless Awareness Sleep-Out
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lakewood is holding its tenth annual Homeless Awareness Sleep-Out on January 17. The Youth Group sleeps in cardboard boxes on the front lawn of the church. Once again the the teens will battle snow and temperatures that frequently dip down into the single digits to raise funds for local homeless programs.
While St. Peter's youth have spent ten nights over the last ten years battling the cold, local homeless have spent about 36,500 nights on the street cold and hungry and without homes. Learning about the homeless plight is one of the reasons kids have come back to the St. Peter's event year after year.
The evening is eye opening for the group. They start the evening with just a light supper of soup and bread. They don't have any other food until morning and all their electronic equipment is taken away. After dinner, at about 6 p.m., the kids hit the streets and ask for money from people in cars driving by. At 11 p.m., they stop asking for money and start their night in the boxes. Then in the morning, the group starts asking for money on the streets again, including the parishioners as they enter the church. The event ends with the teens attending the St. Peter's church service and receiving communion.
Over the ten years the youth group has raised about $15,000 for local shelters such as The Lakeside Men's Shelter, and the Norma Herr Woman's Shelter, the YMCA sponsored Y-Haven program, and the FrontLine Emergency Shelter.
St. Peter's has always been joined by the Lakewood Congregational Church across Detroit Ave. In addition, some members of the youth group from All Saints Episcopal Church in Parma have participated with St. Peter's in the last few years.